Opinions

The passing of an age

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Towards the end of the year I am besieged by a constant feeling that for my generation (and possibly for some others) an entire age has passed, and that we are the survivors, rather than products, of that age.

Looking with vacant eyes we try to grasp the new humanscape as three of our stalwarts have passed away, one by one, in the last one month. The first to leave us was the picture of civility, Maulana Dr. Syed Kalbe Sadiq (82), after a long spell of failing health.

A highly learned aalim, he stood for (by and large) the famous Lebanese Shia scholar who said there is no difference in the Shia and Sunni Islam; the religion is the same, the politics different. In case of Maulana Sadiq (may his soul rest in peace) the politics, too, was the same. As the Secretary of All-India Milli Council, an umbrella body of different Muslim organisations, I had often an opportunity of interacting with him. I always found him an epitome of Lucknowite politeness and immense goodwill.

He was not only an aalim, but created institutions of learning and training like the Era University and Era Medical College in Lucknow, and counselled others trying to establish educational institutions in the country.

Soon after that, we learnt that one of the senior-most members of the IOS movement, Prof. Abdur Rahman Momin (75), had passed away in Bengaluru. He retired as a professor of sociology from Bombay University and spent his life in pursuit of knowledge. He had a home in Mumbai and had gone to Bengaluru for some time. He was with the IOS, for which he wrote several books, from its beginning in 1986. We will miss Prof. Momin (may his soul rest in peace).

The last to leave was a man whose like are born in ages. We are talking of the one and only “Ahmad Bhai”, Ahmad Patel (71), who died at Medanta Hospital on the outskirts of Delhi, in Gurgaon, on November 25 from Covid-19. I have a sincere belief that this seven-time MP was the first leader of India who reminded us of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. Like Maulana Azad, he had support and goodwill among all sections.

With the departure of the affable, well-mannered Ahmad Bhai (may his soul rest in peace) the Congress Party has lost an irreplaceable asset. On a personal level, and as general secretary of All India Milli Council, I always found him helpful and supportive, giving valuable time and advice.

By nature Ahmad Bhai was warm and caring. Only a few hours before his death, he called a sick person’s son and told him not to worry, and that his father would soon be fine. Because of his helpful nature he won his seat in parliament amid all-out effort by Amit Shah to get him defeated.

He served the country and the party well with his extraordinary persuasive abilities. He was able to keep different party leaders with different ambitions together within a loosely-structured consensus. He has left a great record and a lasting memory.

We wish the families of the bereaved well and express our solidarity with them.